Many people who have walked the pilgrimage have told me, “It changed my life!” I embarked on the journey with the expectation/hope that it would transform Ken and I as well. What I have come to accept is that it might change my life or it might not change my life. The answer to that question lies in what we do next.
The most basic lesson of the Camino that most people learn by the first week, is that everyone has their own “way.” Everyone has their own way of walking, way of sleeping, way of carrying our necessities, way of pace, etc… During the first week or so, there are conversations around the community dinner table about what makes a “real” pilgrim. After some time, it becomes clear that to define a “real” pilgrim verses an “unreal” pilgrim, is the stupidest question on the walk and dare I say in our life.
EVERYTHING on the walk has greater symbolic meaning. Everything on this journey is also about our journey through life. Defining how to journey the “right” way is the same as defining how to journey through our life the right way. As if there is a right way to live and a wrong way to live. We, and I mean all of us, allow external forces (family, friends, culture, etc…) to tell us the “right” way to live. If we don’t live this way (save for retirement, go to college, have babies, etc…) then we must get with the program. The hubris of “everyone should journey as I do because if you don’t you are doing it wrong” puts us in bondage. Liberation is about finding our own way.
It is in seeking and finding our own unique walk in this world that liberates us and frees us to be our authentic selves. My transformation from the Camino will be to hold the question “what is my way” at every juncture and at every decision before me. MY way is the way God calls me. I am unique, special, and gifted with my own God given way to live on this big blue ball. And so are you.